WorshipPlanning.com Mobile Updates

Mobile Devices with WorshipPlanning.com Mobile

As promised, we are continuing to improve the WorshipPlanning.com Mobile (WPM) website, which you can access with your mobile browser at http://wplan.me.

Edit Worship Flow Element Screen on mobile device

The big feature we’ve (finally) added is the ability to add, edit, and delete worship flow elements on your mobile device.  Pretty much all the details you can add on the main WP site (save for the extra notes) you can specify on the mobile site…provided you have the right security level.

The other minor but still important enhancement we’ve made on the mobile site is that all connections between your device and our servers are now encrypted and secure.  This will make your on-the-go access to WP yet a little safer.

What’s next for the mobile site?  Well, we have a few more tweaks we want make on the worship flow (including showing more element details).  We also want to give more access to more information about the service, like rehearsals.  Our next big updated will likely be the ability to manage teams and schedule people to serve.

WorshipPlanning.com Version 4.0.4 Released

WorshipPlanning.com version 4.0.4 Logo

Version 4.0.4 is now LIVE, and it includes these exciting features:

SongSelect_LogoIf you have a SongSelect™ account, you can now easily search and retrieve song details (including lyrics and chord sheets) form the SongSelect database…without leaving WorshipPlanning.com!  It will seem like your song library in WP just instantly grew 1000 fold!

Our SongSelect integration is easy to use.  But we’ve gone ahead and create four very short videos on how to use it.  Feel free to check them out here (they are also available on our support site):

 

Updated Worship Flow Element Editor

Improved Worship Flow Dialog

The  window used to select which library item should be included in the worship flow element has been improved in the following ways:

  • More streamline selection of which library or songbook from which you’d like to select an item
  • Ability upload/attach files to a song without having to leave this page and edit the song itself
  • Seamless SongSelect integration

 

Improved Roles Management

Improved Roles Management

Editing role details has been inconsistent between Account Admins and Ministry Schedulers.  We have now made the interface the same for both.  You can even add roles to teams and assign them as skills to people, right on the Edit Roles window.

Seamless SongSelect Integration with WorshipPlanning.com

Song Select Integration

It’s a fact: one of the biggest hurdles with using an online planning service like WorshipPlanning.com is building your library of songs. Churches often call us asking if we can provide them song details and lyrics so they don’t have to spend hours keying in that information. The fact is we cannot legally supply churches with copyright protected information like song lyrics, however, we have partnered with a service that can: SongSelect™ by CCLI.

Chances are you already use CCLI, and may have a SongSelect account (http://aboutsongselect.ccli.com/). If you do, you will LOVE how we have integrated SongSelect functionality right into your WorshipPlanning.com account. Once you authorize SongSelect in WorshipPlanning.com finding songs and adding them to your songs library is a snap (and so is adding lyrics, song details and chord sheets). You can even search and add SongSelect songs on-the-fly as you build your worship flow.

We’ve created this brief video to show you how this new feature works. Take a look, and feel free to post any comments or questions you may have. We expect this feature to be available to everyone November 28.

SongSelect Integration Overview Video

iPhone App Users – Meet WorshipPlanning.com Mobile

WorshipPlanning.com Mobile DevicesAfter much discussion among our team, we have decided the future of accessing WorshipPlanning.com on all mobile devices will be via the mobile website version of WP rather than a native app, like something from the App Store or Android Market. We are very excited about this decision because we truly believe it will offer the best user-experience for a broader range of mobile devices.

All you have to do is point your mobile device’s web browser to http://wplan.me, and sign in. Like the main website, there is nothing to install, authorize, or sync. You might even consider removing the WorshipPlanning.com app you installed from the App Store, since this new way of accessing it will give you more functionality with better performance.

Here are the specific reasons we think you’ll love the new mobile version:

1. HTML5 is as good as native apps – Unless you’re programming math- or graphics-intensive applications, the technology in modern mobile browsers (known as HTML5) allows developers to create interfaces as good as, or better than, native apps. In fact, the current mobile version of WorshipPlanning.com (we’ll call it WPM) actually does more and performs better than our iPhone app.

2. Shorter development cycles – Coding native apps for all the different smartphones out there requires specialized skill-sets and complex project coordination, costly from both time and financial perspectives. We already know how to code web pages and WPM is simply an extension of that knowledge. We can update WPM as fast as we can update the main WP website. The native iPhone app requires at least a week for Apple to approve each version update (no matter how small).

3. Instant updates – Just like the main site, when we do roll-out updates, you’ll see them instantly without having to wait for approval from Apple and then manually update the app on your device.

4. One app, many devices – WPM is smart enough to detect device attributes like screen size and OS type. This means we can make WPM show different features depending on the capabilities of your device….all from one site (one web address, one code base).

5. Launch WPM from a home screen icon, just like a native app – In just a few steps, you can create a shortcut to WPM from your home screen. After doing this, you’ll probably even forget that it isn’t actually a native app.

Many developers are moving away from native apps in favor of web-based mobile apps for the reasons we’ve described above (among others). The technology is here to make this a seamless experience for users. We loved being able to say we have a native iPhone app; but we believe our mobile users will be much better served with the new web-based mobile app of WorshipPlanning.com.

If you have any questions, please feel free to post a comment or contact us via our support site: http://support.worshipplanning.com

SongSelect Integration and WPMobile Updates

SongSelect by CCLI

A few weeks ago, CCLI enabled a technology that allows services like WorshipPlanning.com to integrate directly with their SongSelect service.  This means is that SongSelect account holders will be able to search and import SongSelect songs right from your WorshipPlanning.com account.  You’ll even be able to import the chord sheet (if available) directly, in the key of your choice.

The SongSelect integration features is in active development here at WP, and we hope to have it ready for you by the end of October.

WP Mobile Update

WP Mobile ReorderWe recently made an exciting first step with the WP Mobile site (WPM) that’s in the direction I know many Planners have been wanting WPM to go.  If you are a worship editor (security level 1) or higher, you can now change the worship flow order.  This may seem small, but believe me when I say that adding and editing worship flow elements is not too far behind.  And shortly after that will be the ability to manage team schedules.

For those of you using the native iPhone app, we strongly encourage you to try the mobile site.  Most people agree it performs much better, and it already has more functionality (including the ability to scrub through MP3s and view PDFs).  You can easily access the mobile site by pointing your device to http://wplan.me. (accessing this link with your computer will take you to the main WP site, so feel free to use it on your desktop/laptop as well!)

Version 4.0.2 Update

WP Version 4.0.2

Well, we are about two weeks into WP 4.0, and the feedback has been great!  Let me just take a moment to thank everyone that has given positive and constructive feedback.  Since the update, we have applied several small fixes for bugs and other minor issues.  But today, we have a slightly bigger update that we want to share with you.  Here is what’s included with version 4.0.2, which was applied earlier this morning:

Song Selection Window

Selecting Songs for Worship – We replaced the cumbersome drop-down list of songs on the Worship Flow page with a much more functional window that lists all your songs.  You can sort by various fields and even see when the song was last used by clicking on the song’s magnifying glass icon.

User Info Window – We replaced the small user info box (that appears when you click on a person’s name) with a larger window that’s easier to read.  And notes you have entered about this user will also be visible to Planners.

Persistent Login Update – We’ve modified the “logout” button so that it no longer logs you out of ALL persistent session (across all computers/browsers). Instead, it just ends the persistent session of the computer you are on.  To end the persistent session on other computers, you can go to Account >> My Profile.  On your profile page you’ll see a button that says “Log me out of all other computers”.   Technically, this operation will just end the persistent nature everywhere you have logged in.  It DOES NOT force an immediate logout of all those sessions.  More information about persistent login sessions can be found on our support site here: http://support.worshipplanning.com/entries/20425211-stay-logged-in-setting.

Big ButtonsBig Buttons – On many pages, we took the most popular “actions menu” options and made them into big buttons on the left side.  It’s a simple enhancement, but simple is what we are all about.

Version 4.0 is Live!

WorshipPlanning.com Version 4.0
We are very excited to introduce version 4.0 of WorshipPlanning.com. This is one of our biggest updates to the site since we first launched back in 2003.  The most noticeable improvement is the new design.  We’ve put together a tour of the updates in this brief video.  And below the video are more details about some of the new features.  We hope you enjoy!  Your feedback is always welcome.

What’s New with WorshipPlanning version 4.0 video

  • New design and colors – We feel the word that best describes our new design is “simplified”.  The dark blue banner and blue gradient background have given way to a simpler gray-and-white design.  The tab system and pop-up windows also carry the new design theme.
  • Your profile picture on every page – It’s built right into the navigation bar, and gives you easy access to your profile settings and MyWP-related activities.
  • Updated placement of some navigation menu items – The Admin menu is now gone.  The menu options previous in the Admin menu have been moved to Services, Libraries, and Account menus (next to your profile picture).
  • New “Actions” menu – many of the pages that seemed to have stray icons floating about have been moved to an “Actions” menu that resides in the upper right area of the screen.
  • Security and Login
    • Updated “Stay Logged In” option keeps you logged in even if you close your browser or reboot your computer.
    • The “Respond to Assignments” button now uses an elevated level of encryption.
    • You can disable all past “Respond to Assignment” buttons by simply changing your password in WP

Updated Audio Player

Updated Audio GUI

We are excited to tell you that the audio player in WorshipPlanning.com has been updated (finally!) with an interface that is much more useful.  The biggest feature improvement is the added scrub bar.  And a less-obvious feature that you’ll soon reap the benefits of is that this new player supports several different audio formats.  We’ve got a little more work to do before that is ready, but it is coming.

This new audio player was actually first implemented in our new mobile app, which is currently accessible to Android and iPhone/iPod/iPad devices (see our blog post for more details).  In fact, we recently updated the mobile app player to fix a known scrub bar issue for Android devices.

Happy listening!

Site Security Improvements – Phase 1

Secured by 128 bit SSL Encryption

This morning we rolled out the first of a few improvements to security on the WorshipPlanning.com site.  This particular enhancement ensures that all account data between your browser and our servers is transmitted with encryption.  Also known as SSL (Secure Socket Layer – read more here), this encryption helps ensure that data can’t be easily read by programs or servers sitting between your computer and our servers.

WorshipPlanning.com has always given Planners the option to log in securely with our “Secure Login” link.  That link took you to a special web address that was secure.  Additionally, credit card payments data was always transmitted via SSL.  But now we have secured all website addresses (worshipplanning.com, www.worshipplanning.com, my.worshipplanning.com, etc.).

So, how can you tell if your connection is secure?  Most of you probably already know that you can tell by looking at the web address.  If it starts with “https” (as opposed to just “http”), then it is a secure connection.  Depending on how you access the site, you might notice that many of the “external” WP pages (pages you can get to without logging in) don’t use SSL security.  But rest assured that after you type in your user id and password, clicking the “Login” button initiates a secure connection that will be maintained for the rest of your session.

If you have any questions about any of this, fell free to post a comment here.  In the next few weeks we will roll out the next phase of our security improvements.

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